What if—?

What would happen if one woman told the truth about
        her life?
     The world would split open
-Muriel Rukeyser, “Käthe Kollwitz”

Self portraits by Kollwitz

A revolutionary poem wil not tell you who or when to kill, what and when to burn, or even how to theorize. It reminds you (for you have known, somehow, all along, maybe lost track) where and when and how you are living and might live—it is a wick of desire. It may do its work in the language and images of dreams, lists, love letters, prison letters, chants, filmic jump cuts, meditations, cries of pain, documentary fragments, blues, late-night long-distance calls. It is not programmatic: it searches for words amid the jamming of unfree, free-market idiom, for images that will burn true outside the emotional theme parks. A revolutionary poem is written out of one individual’s confrontation with her/his own longings (including all that s/he is expected to deny) in the belief that its readers or hearers (in that old, unending sense of the people) deserve an art as complex, as open to contradictions as themselves.

Any true revoltionary art is an alchemy through which waste, greed, brutality, frozen indifference, “blind sorrow,” and anger are transmuted into some drenching recognition of the What if?—the possible. What if—?—the first revolutionary question, the question the dying forces don’t know how to ask.

-From essay “What if?” by Adrienne Rich, What Is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Politics

Advisory: Explicit

Build a wall
It won’t keep us from loving each other
Rewrite the laws
It won’t keep us from loving each other
Build a wall (Build a wall)
It won’t keep us from loving each other (Never gonna build a wall)
(We’re never gonna let you build it)

[Outro – Whispered]
Resist, Resist, Resist
Resist, Resist, Resist
Resist, Resist, Resist
Resist, Resist, Resist

(Also, this: “Jussie Smollett’s new video might be the wokest thing ever…”)


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